Anoop, Kerala’s Biggest Lottery Winner, is in the Business Now

03 Feb 2023

The smiling face of former autorickshaw driver and chef Anoop from Sreevaraham in Thiruvananthapuram was all over the news across India after he scored the largest prize in the history of the Kerala lottery of ₹25 crore on September 19, 2022.

Anoop has now made lottery his business and is planning to expand from ticket retail to a wholesale dealership as a lottery agent. In the meantime, however, his case made the state government change the privacy rules for big prize winners and start sending them to a special financial management education program.

Onam Bumper Winner Chose to Stay Where Luck Found Him

On the opening day of his new lottery ticket shop at Manakkad junction in Thodupuzha, customers flocked in to buy tickets from the hands of the winner himself, showing that Anoop might have made the right choice to stay where luck found him and turn lottery into his new business.

Anoop named his shop MA Lucky Centre – placing his wife Maya’s and his own initials in front and celebrating the very luck that brought the Onam bumper fortune to him and his family.

He is now buying tickets from local agents and selling them to individual customers, but Anoop plans big and wants to establish a lottery agency earning commissions from future winners like himself in addition to regular trade margins.

Moving into lottery sales hasn’t made Anoop change his attitude towards the game – he keeps buying tickets for himself and has even scored several small prizes under ₹5,000 after his big win.

He has also made some investments in real estate and keeps the rest of the money in fixed deposits.

State Lottery Dept Had to Rethink Rules

The fairytale story of 30-year-old Anoop is quite inspiring, but some parts of it made the State Lottery Department quickly change the rules and give future big prize winners the option to remain anonymous. And the very next guy who won ₹16 crore on Kerala’s Christmass and New Year bumper chose to exercise this new right, and we remain unaware of their identity.

“Though I resumed my earlier profession as an autorickshaw driver, many people were not paying the fares, saying I did not need the money. Hence my brother is now running the autorickshaw, and I decided to start a lottery shop,” Anoop wraps it up on his recent career shift.

That’s not the only change in his life, as he had to relocate with his family a couple of times after his residence was surrounded by eager help-seekers, including not only friends and distant acquaintances, but complete strangers as well.

Financial Management Class Introduced after February

Anoop and the anonymous Christmass bumper winner are the last Kerala lottery big prize winners who won’t get the state’s new one-day financial management class, announced by Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal in March 2022 together with the new budget but will start functioning in February this year.

The content of the money management training will be based on recently submitted recommendations by a team led by Dr. N Ramalingam, an Associate Professor at the Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation in Thiruvananthapuram (GIFT).

The training itself is being introduced due to older reports about big prize winners struggling to cope with their newly-found wealth. This is why the new classes will cover investments along with all other aspects of financial management and will be conducted by qualified experts.

Awareness about Tax Deductions from Winnings is also Important

Winners should also be aware of the scope of tax and other deductions they have to make from the money they receive from the prize in order to avoid getting into trouble with authorities.

In Anoop’s case, ₹15.75 crore reached his account out of the full prize of ₹25 crore, after the agent got his 10% cut of ₹2.5 crore and the state government deducted 30% income tax over the balance – ₹6.75 crore.

Then, Anoop had to pay a 37% percent surcharge over the income tax – ₹2.49 crore, and a 4% health and education cess over the income tax plus surcharge – ₹36.99 lakh, remaining with a net earning of 12.88 lakh (roughly $1.55 million).